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Alnylam, Dharmacon, Qiagen, Eppendorf, Morphotek, Invitrogen, Immunicon, Kreatech, Charles River Labs, Luminex, Epitome, Bristol-Myers Squibb


Fisher's Dharmacon Licenses Kreutzer-Limmer RNAi Patents from Alnylam

Alnylam has granted Dharmacon a non-exclusive license to its Kreutzer-Limmer patent family, enabling the Fisher unit to develop and sell certain RNAi research products and services covered by the patents, Alnylam said this week.

The Kreutzer-Limmer family, owned by Alnylam, covers small interfering RNAs and their use to mediate RNAi in mammalian cells. Dharmacon is currently a provider of siRNA reagents, and the Alnylam IP expands its portfolio of internally developed and in-licensed RNAi intellectual property.

Alnylam obtained the rights to the Kreutzer-Limmer patent family, which were awarded in Europe, when it acquired Ribopharma in July 2003. That company is now known as Alnylam Europe. The patent family includes EP Patent No. 1144623, which covers siRNAs up to 25 nucleotides in length having a sequence complementary to a target gene; and EP Patent No. 1214945, which covers compositions, methods, and uses of siRNAs with a length between 15 and 49 nucleotides. Patents corresponding to these European patents have been issued or are pending in many other countries, Alnylam said.

Qiagen Acquires Eppendorf's Reagent Business; Firms to Align Techs

Qiagen has acquired Eppendorf's reagent business for an undisclosed amount, and the two companies have penned an alliance to co-develop and -market certain life-science products for biological sample-management and analysis, Qiagen said this week.

Eppendorf's reagent business includes the Eppendorf "5-Prime" nucleic acid sample-preparation and PCR reagent product lines and related intellectual property, according to Qiagen.

The assets also comprise a pipeline of technologies for nucleic acid handling, separation, purification, and amplification.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. However, Qiagen said it expects the reagent business to add $6 million in net sales in 2006 and $11 million in 2007. Qiagen generated $380 million in revenues in 2004, the most current annual period for which figures are available. As part of the deal, Qiagen said it also expects to incur $3 million in one-time in the fourth quarter 2005.

The alliance between the companies is intended to marry certain of the firms' technologies. For example, Eppendorf is known for its liquid-handling instruments, including pipettes, centrifuges, PCR cyclers, and work stations. Qiagen is known for its preanalytical sample-prep tools, among other instruments and consumables. Their alliance aims to improve biological sample-management and analysis, the companies said.

Morphotek Sells Cell Line Optimization Business to Invitrogen

Morphotek this week said that it has divested its cell line evolution service business to Invitrogen for an undisclosed sum.

As part of the transaction, Morphotek retains rights to its human Morphodoma antibody technology platform, called Revolution, as well as rights to use its basic cell evolution technology to advance its internal product pipeline, the company said.

The divestment will allow Morphotek to focus its business strategy on advancing its therapeutic antibody pipeline and developing antibodies for internal programs and strategic partners, Morphotek said.

As a result of the transaction, Invitrogen is now the sole provider of the Revolution technology to the biotechnology and agricultural industries.

"Revolution is exciting because it introduces an entirely new mechanism for cell line optimization," David Onions, Invitrogen's chief medical officer said in a statement. "Not only is Revolution a powerful tool for improving product expression, but we are now able to achieve optimization of traits previously considered out of reach."

Immunicon Licenses Kreatech's Univeral Linkage System Technology

Immunicon has licensed from Amsterdam-based Kreatech Biotech the right to use its Universal Linkage System technology, the companies said this week.

Previously, Immunicon evaluated ULS-labeled centromere probes for detection of abnormalities common to cancer cells.

Immunicon plans to develop assays that could confirm whether certain cells of epithelial origin in a patient's blood sample are cancerous.

Charles River Labs Licenses Luminex's xMap Technology

Charles River Labs has licensed Luminex's xMAP technology for use within its research models and services, the companies said this week.

Luminex's xMAP technology enables multiple assays to be performed in single wells using suspended beads.

Epitome to Develop Custom Assays for Bristol-Myers Squibb

Epitome Biosystems said this week that it has signed a technology access and product development agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb to use its EpiTag protein-measurement platform.

Under the agreement, Epitome will design custom antibody arrays to measure proteins specified by Bristol-Myers Squibb to accelerate its clinical development programs. In return, Epitome will receive development funding and license fees from Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The EpiTag technology uses an in silico approach to identify peptide tags for any protein based on sequence information, Epitome said. The company said the platform enabled the development of multiplex protein assays. Financial details were not disclosed.

The Scan

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.